Explanation

The present collection contains the linguistic legacy of the Swiss anthropologist Franz Caspar
(1916-1977). Between 1942 and 1948, Caspar resided in Bolivia in the Mosetén indigenous
community of Covendo (province of Sud Yungas, department of La Paz), where he conducted
anthropological research and collected language data. Subsequently, during two periods of
field research in 1948 and 1955, Caspar spent a substantial amount of time among the Tuparí,
who then lived a semi-isolated life in the area of the Rio Branco river in the Brazilian state of
Rondônia. Along with his ethnographic work, Caspar collected vocabulary and phrases of the
languages Arikapú, Aruá, Aume, Jabutí, Makurap, Massacá (data provided by dr. Ary Figueiro),
Salamãe, Tuparí and Wayoró. All these languages are spoken to the north of the Guaporé river in
the area of the Branco, Colorado, Corumbiara, Mequens and Pimenta Bueno rivers. In his
recording of language data, Caspar used a rather precise notation based on the German phonetic
practice of the epoch and provided them with translations and notes in German or Portuguese.
Caspar’s data of the Tuparí language are more extensive than those of the other languages
mentioned above. Apart from a set of numbered words and phrases (“Sätze”), they also include
German-Tuparí and Tuparí-German dictionaries on system cards. In 1957, after his return to
Europe, Caspar wrote a grammatical overview of the Tuparí language together with the renowned
Brazilian linguist and expert in the Tupí languages prof. dr. Aryon Dall’Igna Rodrigues. This
work was facilitated by the financial support of the Swiss National Foundation (Schweizerischer
Nationalfonds).

Except for expressions and short texts included in Caspar’s published ethnographic work, of
which the monograph “Die Tupari, ein Indianerstamm in Westbrasilien” (1975, Berlin and New
York: Walter de Gruyter) is the most important, his language data are still inedited. After Franz
Caspar’s death in 1977, they remained in the possession of his widow Frauke Caspar. Since 2005,
with the permission of dr. Caspar’s family and with the financial support of the Netherlands
Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), a research team consisting of prof. dr. Willem F. H.
Adelaar and dr. Hélène B. Brijnen of the Leiden University Center of Linguistics, has been
preparing these language data for online dissemination. The website contains the original material
in pdf-format. Transcriptions of part of the material (data on Tuparí, Arikapú and Aume) have
been included. Transcriptions of further material may be added in the future. Caspar’s data are
accompanied by photographic illustrations.

Users are requested to indicate the identity of the compiler of the materials and the digitizing
team in citations. For questions or comments please contact ln.vinunediel.muh|raaleda.h.f.w#ln.vinunediel.muh|raaleda.h.f.w

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